Emmanuel Masongsong
Project Specialist and Outreach Educator
2712 Slichter


Born and raised in Los Angeles, from day one I was fixated on science and music. Having a piano in the house allowed me to listen to my grandma practice Johann Strauss' Blue Danube waltz over and over until I memorized it and began singing along from under the piano. This led me to experiment with notes and sounds early on, until I had piano lessons at age 6. All the while I would check out as many books as I could from the library on astronomy, volcanology, seismology, paleontology, and meteorology. I knew I would grow up to study science but I didn't know what kind until my senior year of high school when I took biology and was inspired by a wonderful teacher. So, once at UCLA I committed to studying microbiology and genetics with the intent to become a biomedical researcher. I later learned that long hours alone in the lab is not for me- I'd much rather be outside or interacting with other people, and engaging in tasks suited to my talents. I am much happier with my variety of activities in the Experimental Space Physics group here at UCLA, including web/graphic design, training ELFIN students in the machine shop to CNC, developing a drone-based remote sensing platform, and outreach education.

Irish Swanaurora over Alaska Inspire 1 Pro and Mt. Wilson


My previous research was in molecular viral genetics, epigenetics, and cervical cancer biomarkers at UCLA. I analyzed Human Papillomavirus genes in lab experiments with tumor cell lines, comparing them to patient samples enrolled in vaccine and treatment clinical trials. I also helped design a special diagnostic tool for detecting pre-cancers, and it really improved the quality of our analyses. Over time however, my lab career grew to be exhausting and unfulfilling so I reverted to a more basic approach of science advocacy, through high school AP tutoring in biology and environmental science. After 3 years involving myself in informal education through volunteering at the Natural History Museum and Tree People and other agencies, I knew that I would continue to be a science educator.

Since joining EPSS in Spring 2011, I have regained my passion for astronomy and thoroughly enjoy relaying our group's research to students and the public. Space weather should be taught as part of environmental science, the magnetosphere affects our biosphere... if anything space weather research is the most practical form of space exploration because it affects our technology at every level, GPS and weather satellites, radio communications, even our electrical grid.

As part of the NASA THEMIS/ARTEMIS education and public outreach program I built a plasma generator called the Planeterrella that simulates the auroral lights and space plasmas around the sun and planets. I have taken this demo to many K-12 schools and education conferences, and hope to collaborate with local museums to exhibit it in the near future. Through our UCLA ground magnetometer collaboration with Athabasca University in Alberta, educational materials that I designed were translated into French and Inuit and presented in cities and remote villages throughout northern Canada. People are very excited to learn about an instrument in their locality that will study the aurora and space weather! I am also thrilled to be designing educational activities and public outreach materials for our latest NASA mission, the ELFIN Cubesat, launching in late 2018.

LA Airshow 2016, P51 and P40


Some of the things I like to do for fun:

  • Play as many musical instruments as I can, mostly guitar, piano, saxophone, sitar, drums, and Tuvan throat singing
  • Backpacking in Sierra Nevada and Angeles National Forest, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Anza Borrego, among others
  • Volunteer at museums and lead hikes to teach kids about science and nature
  • Study and promote permaculture, human ecology, and sustainability
  • Engage in animal welfare activism through giving lectures, writing and vegan cooking
  • I've dabbled a bit with astrophotography, see my photos here.
  • All things aviation-related, RC airplanes, fpv quadcopters racing and freestyle acro, videography drones, WWII aircraft...


Masongsong, E. V.; Glesener, G. B.; Angelopoulos, V.; Lilensten, J.; Bingley, L. The Planeterrella: an Analog Model for Teaching About the Invisible Electromagnetic Processes Driving Space Weather, AGU Fall Meeting 2015, ED21C-0842.

Masongsong, E. V.; Lilensten, J.; Booth, M. J.; Suri, G.; Heflinger, T. G.; Angelopoulos, V. Visualizing Space Weather: The Planeterrella Auroral Simulator as a Heliophysics Public Outreach Tool, AGU Fall Meeting 2014, ED43C-3488.

Masongsong, E.V., UCLA undergrads are first to build an entire satellite on campus, UCLA Newsroom, August 7, 2014. Link

Masongsong, E.V., Lunar orbiters discover source of space weather near Earth, UCLA Newsroom, Sept. 26, 2013. Link

Wiley DJ, Masongsong EV, Lu S, Heather LS, Salem B, Giuliano AR, Ault KA, Haupt RM, Brown DR. Behavioral and sociodemographic risk factors for serological and DNA evidence of HPV6, 11, 16, 18 infections. Cancer Epidemiol. 2012 Jun;36(3):e183-9.

Hodder, JD, Wille MES, Masongsong EV, Daza EJ, and Mattoni RHT; California Wetlands Research. Effects of Vehicular and Mixed-Use Trails on Recruitment of Exotic Flora in Zuma Canyon, California (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area). Poster session presented at: Strategies and Solutions. 2nd California Native Plant Society Conservation Conference; 2009 Jan 17-18; Sacramento, CA.

Wiley DJ. Elashoff D, Masongsong EV, Harper DM, Gylys KH, Silverberg MJ, Cook RL, Johnson-Hill LM. Smoking Enhances Risk for New External Genital Warts in Men. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2009; 6(3):1215-1234.

Newman P, Roberts KJ, Masongsong EV, Wiley DJ. Anal Cancer Screening: Barriers and Facilitators Among Ethnically Diverse Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men. Journal of Gay Lesbian Social Services. 2008; 20(4): 328-353.

Wiesmeier E, Masongsong EV, Wiley DJ. The prevalence of examiner-diagnosed clitoral hood adhesions in a population of college-aged women. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. 2008; 12(4):307-10.

Wiley D, Masongsong E. Human papillomavirus: the burden of infection. Obstetrics and Gynecology Survey. 2006; 61(6 Suppl 1):S3-14.

Wiley DJ, Wiesmeier E, Masongsong E, Gylys KH, Koutsky LA, Ferris DG, Barr E, Yu Rao J; Proof of Principle Study Investigative Group. Smokers at higher risk for undetected antibody for oncogenic human papillomavirus type 16 infection. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. 2006; 15(5):915-20.

Wiley DJ, Huh J, Rao JY, Chang C, Goetz M, Poulter M, Masongsong E, Chang CI, Bernard HU. Methylation of human papillomavirus genomes in cells of anal epithelia of HIV-infected men. Journal of AIDS. 2005; 39(2):143-51.

Wiley DJ, Monk BJ, Masongsong E, Morgan K. Cervical cancer screening. Current Oncology Reports. 2004; 6(6):497-506.

Please send comments/suggestions to
Emmanuel Masongsong / emasongsong@igpp.ucla.edu